This Week in Washington IP: Developing COVID-19 Tests, China’s Global Tech Dominance and GPS Spectrum Concerns

By IPWatchdog
May 5, 2020

Washington CapitolThis week in Washington D.C., while the nation continues to deal with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, some Senate committee hearings on the Federal Communications Commission’s Ligado Networks 5G decision and funding COVID-19 testing innovation have been scheduled with social distancing guidelines in place. Tech and IP-related webinars continue to be scheduled by think tanks and Brookings Institution features a couple of online events this week, one exploring developments in telehealth, another looking at China’s technological growth and aspirations of global tech dominance. 

Wednesday, May 6

The Heritage Foundation 

Trade Freedom Challenges: Digital Trade and the World Trade Organization

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday, online webinar.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) regulates a wide range of trade between its member countries but the U.S. and other WTO members have pointed at potential violations of international agreements by some bad actors, including Russia and China. Further, many countries including the U.S. have enacted tariffs and other barriers to trade which have restricted the flow of digital trade across the world. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including Gabriella Beaumont-Smith, Policy Analyst, Macroeconomics; Simon Lester, Associate Director, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute; and hosted by Tori K. Smith, Jay Van Andel Trade Economist. 

Brookings Institution 

Telehealth Before and After COVID-19 

At 2:00 PM on Wednesday, online webinar.

Telehealth platforms were under development prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 but the global health crisis and associated shutdown orders across the country have put a new emphasis on technologies that can remotely deliver healthcare services. Recent developments in the field have explored the use of artificial intelligence for conducting diagnostics and patient monitoring. This event will feature remarks by Ajit Pai, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission. Following those remarks is a discussion with a panel including Dana Lichtenberg, Assistant Director, Congressional Affairs, American Medical Association; Ross Friedberg, Chief Legal and Business Affairs Officer, Doctor On Demand; Jordan Roberts, Health Policy Analyst, John Locke Foundation; and moderated by Nicol Turner Lee, Fellow, Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation.

Senate Committee on Armed Services 

Department of Defense Spectrum Policy and the Impact of the Federal Communications Commission’s Ligado Decision on National Security

At 3:00 PM on Wednesday in G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

In mid-April, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously approved an application from Ligado Networks to operate a 5G nationwide network on L-band spectrum, although various lawmakers and officials cautioned against that decision over the potential of interference with other L-band uses for crucial navigation systems like GPS. The witness panel for this hearing will include the Honorable Dana S. Deasy, Chief Information Officer, Department of Defense; the Honorable Michael D. Griffin, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Department of Defense; Ret. Admiral Thad W. Allen, U.S. Coast Guard; and General John W. Raymond, U.S. Air Force, Chief of Space Operations and Commander, U.S. Space Command.


Thursday, May 7 

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions

Shark Tank: New Tests for COVID-19 

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 106 Dirksen.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a global public health response the likes of which have never been seen, but the lack of effective diagnostic tests for the coronavirus has made it difficult for health officials to get a handle on the crisis. In late April, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a $1.5 billion effort to fund early stage technologies in COVID-19 testing. The witness panel for this hearing will include Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director, NIH; and Gary Disbrow, PhD, Acting Director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Friday, May 8

Brookings Institution

Global China — Assessing China’s Technological Reach in the World

At 9:30 AM on Friday, online webinar.

China’s goal of becoming a technologically dominant nation over the next decade has created a national security quandary for U.S. lawmakers who are concerned over the prospects of China’s economic and military capabilities outpacing the U.S. This event coincides with the release of new research reports in Brookings’ Global China series and it will begin with introductory remarks from John R. Allen, President, The Brookings Institution, and Jason Matheny, Director, Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University. The event’s first panel discussion, which will focus on global technology infrastructure, will include Aaron Klein, Fellow, Economic Studies, and Policy Director, Center on Regulation and Markets; Nicol Turner Lee, Fellow, Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation; Carrick Flynn, Research Fellow, Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Georgetown University; Frank A. Rose, Senior Fellow, Security and Strategy, Foreign Policy; Sheena Chestnut Greitens, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for East Asia Policy Studies; and moderated by Chris Meserole, Deputy Director, Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative, and Fellow, Foreign Policy. A second panel discussion, which will focus on technological competition between the U.S. and China, will include Michael Brown, Director, Defense Innovation Unit, U.S. Department of Defense; Tom Wheeler, Visiting Fellow, Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation; Elsa B. Kania, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security; Andrew Imbrie, Senior Fellow, Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Georgetown University; Scott Moore, Director, Penn Global China Program, University of Pennsylvania; and moderated by Tarun Chhabra, Fellow, Foreign Policy, Project on International Order and Strategy.

Cato Institute 

Digital Dollars: In Whom Should We Trust?

At 11:00 AM on Friday, online webinar.

Despite the use of digital networks underpinning financial systems and enabling the processing of credit cards and other non-cash forms of payment, economic relief packages passed by Congress have laid bare many shortcomings in current payment systems. This event will explore various digital payment systems, many of which are still under development but which may eventually meet the needs of a fully digitized economy. The event features a discussion with a panel including Jeremy Allaire, Co-Founder and CEO, Circle; Morgan Ricks, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University; Larry White, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, and Professor of Economics, George Mason University; and moderated by Diego Zuluaga, Associate Director of Financial Regulation Studies, Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives.


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